Location: 66th Street, mid-Park
Artist/Designer: John Quincy Adams Ward, statue; Jacob Wrey Mould, pedestal
Materials: Bronze, granite
Installation: 1864, cornerstone; 1872, statue and pedestal
Funding: Public subscription
To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, a prominent group of New York actors received permission from the Park’s commissioners to erect a statue of the Bard. The cornerstone was laid before the actors knew what their homage to Shakespeare would look like. They raised funds by holding benefit performances of Shakespeare’s plays.
The committee to erect the statue held a design contest in 1866 and selected Ward as the sculptor. Edwin Booth, perhaps the most famous Shakespearean actor of the day, advised the sculptor about proper Elizabethan clothing for the Bard. Another prominent actor who helped raise funds, James Morrison Steele MacKay, was the model.
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